Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

The above video is a short excerpt from a talk given by Dan Pink about his book Drive.

It a thought provoking video. What does motivate people?

It’s always been assumed that money is the primary motivator of people. Studies have been done that show that this isn’t always the case.

I’m a software developer by trade. The ideas that are presented in this video are almost a perfect description of my motivators.

Money is nice, and who doesn’t want more but it’s not what I want out of doing my job every day. Dan says there are 3 primary motivators: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. These are things that I believe are important to me to find happiness in my job and something I will always remember to evaluate in any future career aspirations.

I want autonomy to find my own solutions to technology problems. I’m a curious person and I need that challenge of finding the solutions and creating code the way I want. There is nothing more annoying that working for companies that have constricting rules and regulations. This is a motivator that I find we as software developers do actually have some control over and the ability to reach. There are still many companies that are run by micro-managing blowhards but more and more I see things changing and IT departments are being given the freedom to run themselves and self organize thanks to things like Scrum.

I want to work for people that encourage me to learn and grown. It’s not enough to go into work each day and just do the same thing as the day before. I need new challenges to overcome and improve my understanding of how to build the best software I can. Working for a company that encourages me to master my talents is very important to me. Luckily I current work for a great company that actively encourages it’s employers to get certifications, attend user groups, go to conferences, and more.

For me Purpose is an interesting idea. This is something that I am finding that more and more is the motivator that I desire to have but am unable to obtain. I have spent most of my professional life working in enterprise software. That is to say, I write code that enterprises use internally to manage the business. Things like creating reports, data collection tools, and billing systems. More often than not this software is never seen by the outside public and so I often find myself wondering if this software I write day in an day out has any real value. I don’t know if this will ever really change. Companies exist to sell services and products and when software isn’t that primary service or product I don’t know if developers will be able to find the motivation of purpose being met.

Alan P. Barber
Software Developer, Computer Scientist, Scrum Master, & Crohn’s Disease Fighter

I specialize in Software Development with a focus on Architecture and Design.

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